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We depart by executive coach from our designated pick up points and en route to our hotel we visit the National Trust’s Belton House near Grantham. A crowning achievement of Restoration country house architecture, Belton contains important collections of paintings, furniture, tapestries and silver. We then continue to the 3* Best Western Plus Gibside Hotel at Whickham where we stay four nights on half board basis.
We enjoy a guided walking tour of Durham this morning with our Blue Badge guide which takes in the Cathedral, once described as ‘one of the great architectural experiences of Europe’ and a renowned masterpiece of Norman architecture. This afternoon we visit The Bowes Museum for a guided tour. This purpose built public art gallery was created by John and Josephine Bowes between 1862 and 1875 and is home to a large collection of fine and decorative paintings from around Europe.
Our Blue Badge guide accompanies us to Alnwick Castle, the second largest inhabited castle in England, the first being Windsor Castle, and home of the Percys, Earls and Dukes of Northumberland since 1309. We continue to the National Trust’s Cragside House and Gardens, a wonderful Victorian mansion dating from the 19th century and described as ‘the palace of a modern magician’. Its interior features state of the art hydraulics powering a revolutionary lift system and internal telephones which mesmerised visitors in its time.
We visit the remains of Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island with our Blue Badge guide this morning. The ancient monks built the priory nearly 1,400 years ago and this is the site where St Aidan and St Cuthbert founded the great powerhouse of Christianity in Anglo Saxon Northumbria, and where the famous Lindisfarne Gospels were created in the early 700s. The Priory’s museum focuses on a grisly Viking raid, the cult of St Cuthbert, and the beautiful medieval manuscript, the Lindisfarne Gospels. We visit Bamburgh Castle this afternoon, located on a basalt crag and one of the most imposing castles in England.
After checking out of our hotel and en route home we visit the National Trust’s Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden near Ripon, which has been attracting visitors since the 18th century. Together the Cistercian abbey, Georgian water garden, medieval deer park, Elizabethan hall and Victorian church offer an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate the range of England’s heritage at this World Heritage Site.
NB: Please note we reserve the right to alter the above itinerary if required for operational reasons. Given the historic nature of the places visited, a certain degree of walking will be involved, and this holiday may not be suitable for those with mobility problems. Price based on twin share. Minimum numbers required. Normal booking conditions apply.
Half board accommodation
All excursions & guided tours included
Entrance fees to non-National Trust properties included
Blue Badge guide on Days 2, 3 & 4
Executive coach throughout
Durham – guided walking tour
Durham Cathedral – guided tour
The Bowes Museum – guided tour
Cragside House & Gardens
Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden
We stay four nights on half board basis at the 3* Best Western Plus Gibside Hotel (www.gibside-hotel.co.uk) at Whickham, four miles south west of Newcastle. Located in the centre of this historic village, facilities at the hotel include Paco’s Restaurant that offers a high standard of cuisine and the Egyptian style Sphinx Bar with its superb panoramic views over the Tyne Valley. All rooms are en suite and feature telephone, television, tea & coffee making facilities and a hairdryer. This two storey hotel has no lift. We have reserved eight rooms on the ground floor and, if necessary, we can get a service lift to the second floor when accompanied by a member of staff.
Single room supplement £80
Entrance fees to NT properties (free to NT members)
All excursions & guided tours included